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Jul 30, 2012 10:27 AM

Help with one last dinner recommendation for Paris

First, I want to thank all of the regular chowhounds who have given so much guidance to so many of us. I have been following this site on a daily basis for about 9 months! There are so many of you, but a special thanks to Parigi, Delucacheesmonger, Mangeur, PhilD, Ptipuis, just to name a few, I know I am not alone in my appreciation.
We are going to be in France for about two weeks, beginning September 6th. We will spend two days in Dijon (staying in apartment Mangeur recommended), one week in the Luberon (staying in old gendarmerie in Bonnieux) and then we'll end the trip with 4 days in Paris (staying in apartment in the 6th on Rue Dauphine).

Here are my reservations so far:
Dijon - Le Piano Qui Fume
Le Bistro des Halles
Ma Cuisine (lunch in Beaune on 2nd day)
Luberon - Le Fournil, Le Ferme de la Huppe, L'Arome, Le Petite Cave (birthday night!) Le Sanglier Parraseux,Bistro du Paradu, La Bartavelle (working on this one)
Paris- Terroir Parisien, Semilla, Verjus.
My dilemma- I also have a reservation at Reed for that Saturday night, but am having second thoughts. I am wondering if either Chez L'Ami Jean or Le Timbre would be better options. I know there are a tons of options, but those are two places that I keep coming back to.
Your advise is most appreciated.

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  1. While Le Timbre is a pleasant spot, it is a very small pleasant spot.It's menu has no choices thus l always worry if the time l go it is pickled goat's eyeball night or something l am not interested in eating.
    l suspect the NY Times just wrote up these three places you mention in Paris as have been seeing them a lot on the board. l am sorry l have been to none so cannot help you.
    l would recommend one bustling bistro like CLAJ, Chez Josephine Dumonet, or A Regalade which you do not have in your current choices.
    Your choice for Ma Cuisine is spot on especially for lunch, far less tumult.
    When in Dijon plan a lot of time at the covered market, it is wonderful.

    1. I kind of worry about four names with Anglo chefs: Reed, Semilla, Verjus and le Timbre. Was this intentional? Are you not interested in some of the young French chefs? Or old ones?

      8 Replies
      1. re: mangeur

        Mangeur and Delucacheesemonger
        I was aware that they were all non-French. I had just read the Bon Apetit, Travel and Leisure article and Hungry for Paris (and Chowhound) and all received good reviews. It wasn't intentional. The number of places to go are mind numbing, so I guess I zeroed in on these places. Do you think that is a mistake? I am totally open to any place. I thing Delucacheesemonger is right, I need a fun, boisterous, authentic place for the 4th meal in Paris. I will cancel Reed, but keep Semilla and Verjus. They both sound great.
        Any comments on the rest of our reservations in Provence?

        1. re: CMichaelis

          There are so many wonderful places to eat/dine in Paris. Why not reach out beyond the current magazine articles? Imho, those articles pretty much ensure that for the next few months those places will be full of tourists who also read those articles.

          And, fwiw, the only truly awful meal I've ever had in France I referenced in a Travel and Leisure article. Just sayin'...

        2. re: mangeur

          Ref: Semilla I think Eric Tochon and his team are French

            1. re: PhilD

              My understanding is that the team at Semilla is the same as Fish. This is a new venture for them and they specialize in the smaller plates concept. I have read several great reviews (Hungry for Paris had the most detailed review). Among the other places I mentioned that I have used for reference is Paris by Mouth.
              My mother is going to call CLAJ this morning for me. My French is very rusty, which is a crime since I grew up in France!

                1. re: CMichaelis

                  Same owners but two different kitchens with (I believe) different teams in each.

                  1. re: CMichaelis

                    "My understanding is that the team at Semilla is the same as Fish"
                    Correct but th days we've been, except for drop-buys from Juan and Drew, the crew was French.

              1. I forgot to also mentiont that we won't be going to any more formal restaurants because we won't have the clothes for that. We are going to try and pack in carry-ons, so will be staying a bit more casual with our clothes.

                14 Replies
                1. re: CMichaelis

                  It shouldn't limit you. My husband and I share a 22" bag when we go out of Paris for a week. Take only what you love and don't tire of plus a handful of accessories.

                  1. re: mangeur

                    I know this will sound crazy, but we are first going to Singapore for a week to visit my step son and family, then stopping in France on the way home. I know my husband only plans on taking his travel pants (North Face type) and one pr of jeans, so he won't have the clothes for really dressy places.

                    1. re: CMichaelis

                      Good lineup, esp the Luberon portion.
                      It would be nice for the gentleman to have at least a couple of good shirts. The French always say - honestly - that they dress casual, but that's French casual, which means not too mall-trashy quand même.
                      Jeans are self-defeatingly heavy as summer garment, especially in Singapore. I really don't understand the jeans fundamentalism.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        You sound my husband. Ok, we'll leave the jeans at home! I thought they would come In handy for cool nights in Paris.
                        My mother tried CLAJ this morning but there was a recording saying number was not in service. They must have switched off phones for August vacation. Do you think it's still possible to get a reservation if we call on September 1st? I want it for Sat the 15th
                        We don't leave till August 29th

                        1. re: CMichaelis

                          "Do you think it's still possible to get a reservation if we call on September 1st?"

                          1. re: Parigi

                            I'm sad to say that I do not recommend Verjus. While the food was definitely tasty and well thought out, the portions were truly tiny and too expensive for what you get. And you may as well be dining in NYC. Not one single person in the place, including the waitstaff was speaking French. Personally, I'd choose Reed over it you must have one of those. There are so many great places in Paris where you can dress totally casually and have wonderful food for a real value. I wouldn't waste a meal on Verjus. And I totally second DCM suggestion. Personally, I'd go to Josephine AND either CLJ or LR and drop both Reed and Verjus (unless you need a Saturday evening choice. I think Reed is ope.)

                            1. re: plafield

                              Thanks for your advice.
                              What is LR? I keep reading mixed reviews of Josephine. I take it you have good experiences there?

                                1. re: CMichaelis

                                  Where are you reading mixed reviews of Josephine? Not on this board. Had my favorite meal of my last trip there. And I ate very well throughout the country.

                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    Yes, La Regalade. The original, not St Honore. I just got a message from a friends I sent there saying "We are now your bitches. Best meal ever." I have been many times and never once disapponted.

                                    And we have had great meals at Josephine. Have the foie (1/2 order!) and the beef bourguignon and you'll be i heaven.

                                    1. re: plafield

                                      I am trying to remember where I read the mixed reviews. Probably Fodors Forum. There was one on this site that I recall. You are correct that it is well loved on this site. I will go ahead and reserve.
                                      I am also going to cancel Verjus and try for La Regalade. Why not the St Honore location? Is the food really different?

                                      1. re: CMichaelis

                                        I listened to everyone's feedback other threads i've recently read and have made a few changes to our restaurant itinerary.
                                        Cancelled Le Sanglier Paresseux and reserved Le Castellas
                                        Reserved Bistro du Paradou for their Friday Aioli lunch and left the evening free.

                                        Cancelled Oustalet Gigondas (too far of a drive)
                                        Cancelled Verjus. We will attempt to reserve at Le Regalade on August 21st, when they return from vacation
                                        Cancelled Reed and will attempt CLAJ also on the 21st.
                                        Thanks again for everyone's help. I will write a trip report upon our return. I'm not a creative writer, but will do my best!

                                        1. re: CMichaelis

                                          Great lineup.
                                          Have a great trip.
                                          Report back or be forever badmouthed by us. :-)

                                          1. re: CMichaelis

                                            Can't wait! Both of these are on my list! Have a great trip!